Missing dog 'sold for R50' while owner surfed

2015-09-14 09:02
Pluto (Supplied by Robert Abel)

Pluto (Supplied by Robert Abel)

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Cape Town - Pluto, a 7-and-a-half-year-old Boxer dog who went missing while his owner was surfing in Granger Bay, Cape Town, was reportedly stolen and sold for R50.

His bereft owner, Robert Abel, told News24 on Sunday that he left his "sweet-natured" pet on the beach on Friday afternoon while he hit the waves - something he often did, as Pluto was well-known in the area. "Everyone loves the dog...he is legendary at most of the surfing beaches of the Atlantic seaboard."

When Abel came out the water, he saw that Pluto was gone.

He began looking for him and approached a couple on the beach to see if they had witnessed Pluto's disappearance.


The woman told him that the dog had been with them before, but then her "friend sold him for R50" to a woman in a car.

She told him the woman was at Pick n Pay supermarket with the dog, and would return.

"You will get your dog back," the woman apparently told Abel.

However, shortly afterwards, the couple disappeared from the beach area. Abel said they appeared to be homeless.

Abel then went to a nearby police station where he was told that if he e-mailed a photograph of the dog, patrols would be informed to look for him.

Once he did so, he decided to stop looking. "I would have kept hunting but I thought the patrol could cover more ground."

However, Abel said he was horrified when he phoned the police station the next day and was told that they did not have access to the e-mail system after hours or on weekends.

"It's absolutely appalling," said Abel, regretting the lost time he could have been out searching for his precious pooch.

By Sunday, he had still heard nothing about Pluto's whereabouts.

Abel said he got Pluto when he was just 6-weeks-old and "you could hold him in one hand". He originally named him Da Bomb but then was concerned it might cause problems at airports with security, so changed his name to Pluto because Boxers "are goofy and super-sweet in nature".

He said while Pluto did not like to swim, "he did love to run in the water up to chest level".

Abduction of pets classified as theft

City of Cape Town mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said that while he had not heard of the abduction of dogs from beaches, he knew of two cases where dogs were snatched in the vicinity of their owners' homes and later sold.

He said many people who might appear homeless were in fact "strollers" who came to areas like the beaches in the day, in order to "acquire odd jobs or seek donations", before returning to the areas in which they actually lived.

As such, "the chance was slim" that the dog would be spotted.

In terms of the City's bylaw, the selling of domestic animals was illegal. Legally, a pet was considered property, and as such its abduction was classified as theft. However, people had a "much greater attachment to the pets" compared to other property, said Smith, adding he would be devastated if anything similar ever happened to one of his three cats.

Smith urged people who experienced a similar predicament to contact the City's emergency line as they would be able to alert various officials, including the metro police, fire department and emergency centre, to be on the lookout. The number is 021 4807700.

Pluto has a reddish-brown coat and had a black leather collar on when he went missing. He is also micro-chipped.

Read more on:    jp smith  |  cape town  |  animals

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